Agnostics often fall into two camps - those who believe that all religions can lead to God or those who believe that true religion cannot be discerned. This page examines both positions in an attempt to determine where the truth may lie. Logically, there are several possibilities. Atheists would say that no religion leads to God, since He doesn't exist. It is possible that one, several or all religions lead to God. This page will assume that God exists, so we will examine which, if any religions, might lead to God. Other pages on the site examine the issue of God's existence.
All ways lead to God
There are hundreds of religions in the world today, and many ancient religions that are no longer practiced. It is possible, and perhaps likely, that all religions contain some truth and/or good moral advice. However, in examining religious teaching, it is important to examine the fundamental beliefs of each religion and compare those to each other. When this is done, it is apparent that primary religious teachings contradict each other. Judaism says that the Messiah is coming, Christianity says that He has come, and Islam says that Mohammad provided all the information necessary for religious life. Obviously, these truth claims cannot be simultaneously true, since they contradict each other. Logically, we must reject the idea that all religions lead to God.
True religion - is it possible to discern?
I believe that there are some things that we can discern about God from the nature of the universe. The universe demonstrates some remarkable evidence of design. What kind of God designed all this, and how can we know His true identity? Most people who believe God exists would agree with the argument that the God who designed the universe must be a personal God. For God to put so much time and care into the design of the universe and life, it would seem logical to conclude that God really cared about His creation, and was personally involved in it's creation. A God who did not care about his creation would never be expected to spend 14 billion years of development just so that humans would have a nice place to live for a few thousand years. Therefore, it would seem likely that the true God must be a personal God, and not the God of deism, pantheism, Buddhism, etc. So, it would seem that these religions probably do not represent the true nature of God.
Eliminate the illogical
The powerful and personal Creator God of the universe would probably want to reveal Himself to His spiritual creatures. So, it seems likely that God would have revealed His true nature to one or more of the peoples of the earth. Are all the revelations of the world religions a reflection of God or just certain one(s)? This is the difficult question that cannot be answered in merely one short page. However, I believe one can come up with a best answer through much study and through the process of elimination. For example, some religions make truth claims that are obviously false. The LDS church (Mormons) claims that gods are created through procreation and that creatures created by those gods can eventually become gods themselves. However, this religion suffers from the problem of how the first god came into existence. Logic would dictate that God is eternal and uncreated. All religions that claim otherwise would seem to be logically flawed.
Basic religious claims
Since many religious claims contradict one another, it would seem that not all religions could be simultaneously true. How can we tell which religion(s) are true? If you examine the world religions, most describe ethical and moral laws that are ascribed to God. Breaking of those laws is an offense to God. How do different religions handle that problem? Many religions say that if one tries to obey God's laws most of the time, God will accept you. However, I believe that we can eliminate that idea as being true of the Creator God of the universe. God designed physical laws of the universe. These laws are constant and unbreakable. God Himself, seems to break those physical laws only rarely. I propose that this God would not accept the breaking of His moral laws so easily. In fact, from the nature of the physical laws, it would seem that God would not accept the breaking of His moral laws at all. Nearly all religions claim that God will ignore our breaking of His moral laws as long as we try our best. This is where Christianity differs from all other world religions. Christianity says that our good works cannot erase our bad moral choices. Think of it in terms of our legal systems. We are convicted of crimes on the basis of breaking the law. If we break a law, we are found guilty under the law. It doesn't matter what good things we have done in our lives, if we break the law. We might get a lesser sentence, but we will still be convicted of a crime. So, God cannot simply ignore our crimes against Him. We will be found guilty, despite our good works. Christianity says that our bad deeds (sins) must be eliminated in order to be acceptable to God. The elimination of sins was accomplished by the sacrifice of the Savior (Jesus Christ). Jesus Christ is God Himself, who came to earth, led a sinless life, and died on the cross as a sacrifice to take the sins of mankind. So, God Himself provided a means of eliminating our sins against Him. However, the elimination of sins is not automatic. Since God will allow people into His presence after death, they must agree to His terms. This contract is executed through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to eliminate our sins. By accepting God's terms, our sins are erased and we can stand in the presence of God without any sin. Only our good deeds will be counted for our judgment. Those who don't accept God's terms will be judged on the basis of God's laws - and will be found guilty.
Christianity is different!
No other religion provides a provision for God's forgiveness of sin, which is why I believe Christianity to be the only true way to God. Jesus said He is the only way to God and that all people must follow Him to enter heaven. All other religions are man's attempt to become acceptable to God. Only Christianity says that God alone provides the only means to be acceptable to Him. So, either Christianity is true and all other religions are false or Christianity is false and God does not hold people accountable for law breaking. Personally, I would not want to rely upon God ignoring His own rules. It doesn't seem to be logical reasoning. This is the choice you must make.
So, I encourage you to examine the world religions to see if what I am saying is true. Don't give up on the ability to separate the truth claims of the world's religions. If Christianity is true, you must make a choice or you will be judged on the basis of your sins against God. Let me know if you have any questions.
- Is Christianity True? Evidence for the Truth of the Christian Religion How can one test religious belief?
- Evolution vs. Design: Is the Universe a Cosmic Accident or Does it Display Intelligent Design?
Last Modified October 25, 2012